Report: Two-thirds of Kentuckians obese by 2030 if trends continue; cost to nation’s future unquestionably high

Nearly two-thirds of adults in Kentucky will be obese by 2030 if rates continue to climb as they are now, an analysis reported Tuesday.

The level of obesity, defined as being roughly 30 or more pounds overweight, is projected to reach 60.1 percent in Kentucky in 2030, up from 30.4 percent in 2011, according to an analysis commissioned by the nonprofit Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Nancy Hellmich and Laura Ungar of The Courier-Journal in Louisville report that if states’ obesity rates continue on their current trajectories, the
number of new cases of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and
stroke, hypertension, and arthritis could increase 10 times between 2010
and 2020, and double again by 2030. Medical costs associated with treating preventable obesity-related
diseases could increase by up to $66 billion per year by 2030, and the
loss in economic productivity could be as high as $580 billion annually. (Read more)

The joint report also shows that states could prevent obesity-related
diseases and dramatically reduce health care costs if they reduced the
average body mass index (BMI) of their residents by just 5 percent by
2030. Doing so would spare millions of Americans serious
health problems, and the country could save billions of dollars in
health spending. See the interactive map showing how much improvement could be made if that small change were made here.

The report also features a series of joint policy recommendations from TFAH and RWJF, including full implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, protection of the federal health reform law’s Prevention and Public Health Fund, and inclusion of additional physical education and activity components in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. To download the full report, go here

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